Counties are facing a second game in a week in the Allianz Football League this weekend. The teams will then have a three-week break until the action resumes on the first weekend in March.
Last weekend’s opening round produced some very interesting results, including defeats for reigning All-Ireland champions, Donegal and Allianz League Division 1 champions, Cork.
There were defeats too for 2012 beaten Division 1 semi-finalists, Kerry along with Down, leaving Mayo as the only winners from that quartet. Once again, next weekend’s action will be spread over Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
Division 1: Early Pressures on Munster Giants
Cork v Kildare, Pairc Ui Rinn;
Donegal v Down, Ballybofey.
Kerry v Dublin, Fitzgerald Stadium,
Killarney; Mayo v Tyrone, Elverys McHale Park, Castlebar.
Defending Division 1 Champions, Cork and beaten 2012 semi-finalists, Kerry lost on their travels in the opening round last weekend, which puts extra pressure on them as they host their first ‘home’ games of this year’s campaign.
They will be at home to two of the counties who made winning starts last weekend, with Cork taking on Kildare and Kerry facing Dublin. Kildare had four points to spare over All-Ireland champions, Donegal last Saturday while Dublin did even better, beating Cork by six points.
Cork and Kildare didn’t meet in last year’s League (the Lilywhites were in Division 2) but clashed in the All-Ireland quarter-final in August when Conor Counihan’s men had an easy victory, 2-19 to 0-10. Kerry beat Dublin by six points in the opening round of last year’s League in Croke Park.
Mayo and Tyrone, both of whom won last weekend, clash in Castlebar on Sunday in what will be their first League encounter since 2010 when the westerners won by 1-12 to 1-11. Donegal and Down, who meet in Ballybofey on Saturday, fought a really close battle in last year’s League with the Mourne men winning by a point (1-10 to 1-9) in the opening round.
Division 2: First round winners v First round losers
Longford v Westmeath, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park;
Armagh v Wexford, Athletic Grounds;
Derry v Laois, Celtic Park; Louth v Galway, Drogheda.
The four first round winners, Westmeath, Wexford, Laois and Galway take on the four first round losers, Longford, Armagh, Derry and Louth. It means that by Sunday evening four counties could be four points ahead of their rivals; alternatively all eight counties could be on two points.
Laois were the most impressive first round winners when beating Armagh by seven points. Galway had three points to spare over Derry while Westmeath and Wexford each had one point wins over Louth and Longford respectively. All four winners were at ‘home’ last weekend but now face ‘away’ challenges.
Louth and Galway drew 1-8 to 0-11 in Pearse Stadium in last year’s League while the other three fixtures had no corresponding ties in 2012. Armagh v Wexford is a clash of a county that dropped down from Division 1 (Armagh) and another who came up from Division 3 (Wexford).
Longford were also promoted last year and were unlucky not to take at least a point off Wexford last Sunday.
Division 3: Meath hoping for a quick bounce back
Cavan v Monaghan, Kingspan Breffni Park;
Fermanagh v Roscommon, Brewster Park.
Sligo v Antrim, Markievicz Park;
Wicklow v Meath, Aughrim.
Meath started the campaign as favourites to win the group but got a severe jolt against Monaghan on Sunday, losing by 12 points and leaving the Royals under immediate pressure to bounce back when they play Wicklow in Aughrim next weekend.
Wicklow, who have home advantage for a second successive week, took a big beating against Fermanagh last weekend, losing by ten points. Meath and Wicklow didn’t meet in last year’s League but clashed in the first round of the Ulster championship when Meath won by five points.
Antrim beat Sligo by a point in last year’s League while Cavan v Monaghan and Fermanagh v Roscommon had no corresponding ties last season.
Division 4: Offaly v Limerick in clash of leading promotion contenders
Waterford v Tipperary, Dungarvan.
Leitrim v Clare, Carrick-on-Shannon;
Offaly v Limerick, Tullamore.
Offaly and Limerick, two winners from last week, meet in Tullamore while Waterford who beat Clare have home advantage against Tipperary.
Offaly, who dropped down from Division 3 at the end of last season, were eight points winners over London while Limerick had two points to spare over Leitrim.
Waterford picked up two valuable ‘away’ points against Clare in Milltown-Malbay and now have a chance to make a bold statement of intent about their promotion ambitions when they play Tipperary in Dungarvan.
The remaining Round 2 game between Carlow, impressive winners over Tipperary last Sunday, and London will be played on Saturday week.
Allianz Football League 2013: Results & Fixtures
February 2: Round 1: Dublin 1-18 Cork 2-9; Kildare 2-14 Donegal 1-13; Tyrone 1-11 Down 1-8; February 3: Mayo 0-15 Kerry 1-6.
February 9: Round 2: Cork v Kildare; Donegal v Down; February 10: Kerry v Dublin; Mayo v Tyrone.
March 2: Round 3: Dublin v Mayo; March 3: Tyrone v Donegal; Kildare v Kerry; Down v Cork.
March 9: Round 4: Down v Mayo; March 10: Donegal v Kerry; Kildare v Dublin; Tyrone v Cork.
March 16: Round 5: Cork v Donegal; Mayo v Kildare; Dublin v Tyrone; Kerry v Down.
March 23: Round 6: Dublin v Down; March 24: Kerry v Cork; Mayo v Donegal; Kildare v Tyrone.
April 7: Round 7: Down v Kildare; Cork v Mayo; Tyrone v Kerry; Donegal v Dublin.
February 2: Round 1: Laois 0-20 Armagh 1-10; February 3: Galway 1-15 Derry 0-15; Wexford 2-8 Longford 1-10; Westmeath 0-16 Louth 2-9.
February 10: Round 2: Longford v Westmeath; Armagh v Wexford; Derry v Laois; Louth v Galway.
March 2: Round 3: Armagh v Longford; Laois v Louth; March 3: Wexford v Derry; Galway v Westmeath.
March 9: Round 4: Derry v Armagh; March 10: Longford v Galway; Louth v Wexford; Westmeath v Laois.
March 16: Round 5: Derry v Longford; Armagh v Louth; Laois v Galway; March 18: Wexford v Westmeath.
March 24: Round 6: Galway v Wexford; Louth v Derry; Westmeath v Armagh; Longford v Laois.
April 7: Round 7: Derry v Westmeath; Louth v Longford; Wexford v Laois; Armagh v Galway.
February 3: Round 1: Antrim 1-14 Cavan 2-9; Monaghan 1-18 Meath 2-3; Fermanagh 1-16 Wicklow 0-9; Roscommon 1-11 Sligo 1-8.
February 9: Cavan v Monaghan; Fermanagh v Roscommon; February 10: Sligo v Antrim; Wicklow v Meath.
March 2: Round 3: Meath v Cavan; Antrim v Fermanagh; March 3: Roscommon v Wicklow; Monaghan v Sligo.
March 9: Round 4: Fermanagh v Monaghan; March 10: Sligo v Cavan; Wicklow v Antrim; Roscommon v Meath.
March 16: Round 5: Monaghan v Wicklow; Antrim v Roscommon; Cavan v Fermanagh; Meath v Sligo.
March 24: Round 6: Antrim v Meath; Fermanagh v Sligo; Wicklow v Cavan; Roscommon v Monaghan.
April 7: Round 7: Monaghan v Antrim; Sligo v Wicklow; Meath v Fermanagh; Cavan v Roscommon.
February 3: Round 1: Offaly 1-13 London 1-5; Waterford 1-9 Clare 0-11; Limerick 0-11 Leitrim 0-9; Carlow 1-14 Tipperary 0-16.
February 9:Round 2: Waterford v Tipperary; February 10: Leitrim v Clare; Carlow v London; Offaly v Limerick.
March 2: Round 3: Waterford v Limerick; March 3: Offaly v Clare; Carlow v Leitrim; Tipperary v London.
March 9: Round 4: Clare v Tipperary; London v Waterford; March 10: Limerick v Carlow; Leitrim v Offaly.
March 16: Round 5: Leitrim v Waterford; Offaly v Carlow; Limerick v Tipperary; March 30: Clare v London.
March 24: Round 6: Waterford v Offaly; London v Limerick; Tipperary v Leitrim; Carlow v Clare.
April 7: Round 7: Leitrim v London; Clare v Limerick; Carlow v Waterford; Offaly v Tipperary.
Semi-Finals: April 14
Final: April 28